Monday, February 3, 2014

Schuster Fails to Disclose That Not All Rooms at HMS Have Been Cleared for Re-occupancy

Here is the question for the night: Will the community ever be able to believe that Dr. Schuster's email updates are telling us the complete truth? After tonight, we have lost all hope and think its time for the Board of Education to find cause to terminate her.  Tonight's email from her declared and celebrated that HMS has been cleared for re-occupancy. All of it. Well that is simply not true. But don't believe us, read the documentary support for yourselves.

Her email is copied below with specific language highlighted in red by us, but we want to emphasize the following 2 statements in it:

"We are so pleased to confirm that HMS will be open for classes tomorrow, Tuesday, February 4. The building has been cleared for students and staff following a fire inspection, inspection by the Regional Office of Education, and inspection by architects from Healy, Bender & Associates. Additionally, reports from Integrity Environmental Services on sampling conducted January 31, February 1, and February 3 indicate the school is safe for occupancy."

"Again, all inspections confirm the building is safe for student and staff use. "

Anyone reading Dr. Schuster's email would conclude that every room in the building has been cleared. There is no mention of any exception. Her letter confirms what sources notified bloggers of earlier today, that there were rooms that tested positive for mold even after weeks of being de-molded and cleaned multiple times. According to Dr. Schuster's email, those rooms were re-cleaned in the last two days and retested.

Her emails suggests that those rooms were retested and ALL have now been cleared. What she fails to inform parents of is that one room that tested negative in the previous test -- Room 200 -- but was retested today has come back positive. And she also fails to tell us that Integrity Environmental Services has unequivocally recommended that the room should be restricted from entry by all non environmental professionals and maintenance personnel until additional cleaning or replacement of flex duct portions can't be completed.

We have reviewed both Re-occupancy reports prepared by Integrity. These reports are available on the D181 website. Part of the retesting the took place today required duct system supply surface swab samples to be taken. According to the last page of the second report, issued today, February 3:

"Five (5) supplemental surface swab samples were collected and analyzed. Four (4) samples exhibited either no detection of mold spores or only traces of mold spores at levels far below the acceptable levels. 

The remaining sample exhibited the presence of a mold spore type that still warrants additional cleaning and anti-microbial treatment: 

-- Room 200    Stachybotrys, "Rare" concentration.

As Stachybotrys was not detected within the subject room on the previously collected air sample, it is our recommendation that all personnel other than environmental professionals and maintenance personnel be restricted from entering this room until additional cleaning of, or replacement of the "flex duct" portions can be completed."

So, it appears that it is not true that the entire building has been cleared for re-occupancy starting tomorrow. Room 200 should be restricted from teachers and students until the black mold is eradicated. That is the recommendation of the testing company. Does Dr. Schuster plan to ignore this recommendation? Why didn't she tell the parents and community about this finding and recommendation in the report from Integrity.

While her email refers everyone to the two reports prepared by Integrity, it should not be the job of each individual parent to sit down and read every line of the report to see if there is information that the superintendent is withholding. Findings such as the one Integrity issued recommending restrictions of even one classroom should have been brought to everyone's attention by Dr. Schuster. We guess that the last questions we will pose tonight are:
  1. Who teaches in Room 200?
  2. How many students will be displaced starting tomorrow from that classroom because it has not been cleared?
  3. When will the Board of Education finally start holding Dr. Schuster accountable for not telling the full story in her celebratory emails to the community?

Email from Dr. Schuster:

"February 3, 2014

Dear District 181 Community,

At tonight’s Open House at Hinsdale Middle School, we were very happy to greet families and staff who came to see the amazing amount of work that has been completed.

We are so pleased to confirm that HMS will be open for classes tomorrow, Tuesday, February 4. The building has been cleared for students and staff following a fire inspection, inspection by the Regional Office of Education, and inspection by architects from Healy, Bender & Associates. Additionally, reports from Integrity Environmental Services on sampling conducted January 31, February 1, and February 3 indicate the school is safe for occupancy.

The reports from Integrity have been posted on the HMS Facility Updates webpage. To clarify the information contained in Integrity’s initial report, a small number of rooms / areas were listed as having “rare” or “low” concentrations of two types of mold - Stachybotrys and Aspergillus/Penicillium- and one area showed a “moderate” level of a third type of mold - Chaetomium. Those areas were immediately cleaned again by SERVPRO and then re-tested by Integrity. Following the second series of samples in those rooms, all areas were cleared. (The supplemental report with these findings has also been posted.)

Again, all inspections confirm the building is safe for student and staff use. We will send an update tomorrow after classes resume to share any new information and discuss next steps to address the building’s long-term needs.

We look forward to welcoming HMS students and staff in the building tomorrow!


Dr. Renée Schuster


jay_wick said...

Looks like autocorrect got ya -- "starchy torts"...

Some may call it "style" still seems excessively alarmist to me...

jay_wick said...

"This letter, in conjunction with the previous letter issued to your office, shall serve as our formal certification for re-occupancy."

Seems pretty unequivocal.

The Parents said...

Mr. Wick: Thank you for pointing out the spelling mistake. We have corrected it. While the building per se has been cleared for occupancy, our point is that it is not all cleared. There is a room that will be restricted starting tomorrow. Dr. Schuster did not disclose this fact. That may not bother you, but it bothers us. You call our post alarmist. We disagree. We believe in full transparency by the public school district that we entrust our children too. If there is even one room in that building that remains unsafe starting the day students are that allowed back in, the superintendent should have told us. Since she seems capable of cherry coating everything else, she could have disclosed this piece of information to us and then explained it away somehow. We are confident she would have found a way to spin it. Instead, she buried it inside the documents posted on the district website knowing full well that not everyone would read them. You of course are entitled to your continued opinion that all is well in the world of D181, however, we will simply have to agree to disagree with you.

jay_wick said...

It is your blog and we must all endure your intrepretation. The original documents were clearly posted by the administration and referenced in the district-wide email. Quite a stretch to call that "buried".

The sequence of sampling / retesting does take time. It is quite clear that no tests in this cycle came back with any results at other than safe levels. That is not spin it is from the report.

Believe me I have no special affection for the administration and believe several of the BOE are ineffective at best / incompetent at worst but baseless efforts to conflate this situation strongly suggest that continued cries for the termination of the district personnel are based on some personal vendetta as opposed to any blatant misconduct...

Who is trying to exact retribution?

The Parents said...

Mr. Wick: do you really think every parent takes the time to read everything posted on the D181 website? Don't you think most parents expect that what the superintendent tells them is complete and accurate? It is humorous that you think we are seeking retribution. All we are seeking is transparency and accountability. We urge you to join us in that quest.

jay_wick said...

I assume that some parents / community members are content to never read anything about who is truly qualified to serve on the BOE; evidence of that is reflected in the composition on not just D181 but D86 BOE.

I am further confident that there are disgruntled parents and staff that will seize upon any triviality and attempt to use this as a some kind of lever to try to gain more power.

It therefore is not just possible but likely that folks from both extremes bear responsibility for the current state of the district -- the apathetic / uniformed help elect ineffective BOE members while the axe-grinding squeaky wheels force the administration into a hyper-legalistic defensiveness that prevents them from devoting needed time to legitimate questions.

As I have said before the lack if regularly scheduled subcommittees that were once an opportunity to provide input on things like curricular choices and directions for technology or even things as seemingly simple as decisions about HVAC have fallen by the wayside.

Is it really better to have folks continually spout off their "outrage" and make calls for ousting the administration?

Non HMS Parent -- Thank God! said...

Okay. Let me get this straight. Dr. Schuster said all of the building has been cleared. Integrity's second report recommends restricting access to room 200. After nearly one month of mold remediation, and by Dr. Schuster's count, cleaning the building three times before last weekend, there was still mold found in the air quality and swap tests conducted this weekend? If I had a child going to HMS, or was a staff member there, especially after all the years of complaining and being told by super sniffer that no mold existed, now that mold has been found, remediated, cleaned, and still appears to be floating around the building, I would be concerned. Very concerned. Isn't the teachers' union concerned? Are the teachers really confident that the "all clear" that Dr. Schuster has sounded should be believed? What does Dr.Norton think?

jay_wick said...

I believe I saw Dr. Norton at the open house, it would be interesting to get their opinion of the situation.

I talked to the contractors and based in the information they supplied about their efforts at not just drywall replacement but duct cleaning, carpet sanitation, surface cleaning and improvements to the insulation and space heating I would have no reservations about sending children into the building nor staff working in the building; even the one room that did test positive on the last cycle of testing was a level classified as "rare" and that not previously been impacted by any mold.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what teacher is assigned to classroom Room 200?

jay_wick said...

Almost forgot -- the science labs, apparently directly below the portion of the storage room / utility space on the third floor that first had a frozen fire sprinkler, has new seamless / poured flooring. That should prove both safer / more durable for the long run.

Anonymous said...

Sent to staf Monday morning:

Dear Colleagues,

The testing came back with some traces of mold in the following rooms.  These rooms were retreated/cleaned over the night by ServPro and will be retested this morning. Please do not go into these rooms until the testing has been done. 


I will send a message when the test samples are finished and you can go in the rooms.  The issue is traces of mold so you can be in the building if you want to be.  

Integrity is rushing these tests also and thinks they can make the 3:00 inspection deadline. We are still trying  to resume classes tomorrow at this point.

I apologize for the inconvenience but we want the mold gone.


Dr. Renee Schuster,

Anonymous said...

Say what? Teachers got this from Schuster this morning? Why did Schuster sit on this until 8 pm? She says she wants the mold gone? How can anyone really know if it is?

jay_wick said...

The district wide email and the documents from the firm doing the environmental testing make it clear that everything had been retested.

Anonymous said...

If there's mold in room 200, then there's mold in the HVAC system, and there's mold in the entire buidling. Closing off the room until it's cleaned isn't the answer. The bigger problems were not addressed. And the administration/boe has an expert at its fingertips and has chosen not to seek his advice/opinion.

Mr Wick, you have absolutely NO IDEA what has gone on in this district. I don't know if you have kids, but clearly they aren't in 4th grade. I don't know if you even have kids in middle school. You certainly haven't been attending board meetings since last year. Find the parents who have been vocal about the issues, find these parents who have spent countless hours doing their research, find the parents that KNOW what is going on, meet with them, do your research. Don't just join in on a blog and bash parents who lose sleep at night b/c of the curriculum issues their children are dealing with or b/c their child has been sick from mold. You have absolutely no idea what is going on and it is evident when you use the words "personal vendetta to get rid of district personnel."

We are parents! And our children are our responsibility! I am my child's advocate! Are YOU going to advocate for my child? I think not! Is the administration or the BOE going to advocate for my child? I think not! I will speak up for my child and I will not quit! This is about the children. It's not about the adults. Until you do all of the research and can offer an opinion that's meaningful, just go away.

jay_wick said...

Just becuase one is not a overly worked up does not mean that they don't know what is going on in the district. The administration warned that changes in the calculation of performance on standardized tests likely would be negatively impacted not due to any shortcoming in our students but decisions by ISBE in how scores were recorded. One need not just focus on D181 or even just Illinois to see that many respected education figures now see that there are insiders working against the best interest of some schools. Especially in a high performing district like ours the use of ISATs and even the Common Core is unlikely to provide much value. We need better measures and some of the feedback has to come from our own teachers. Conversations I have had with children's teachers and those of other teachers in the district strongly suggests that the lack of clear direction is the greatest negative right now....

I have stated that I have concerns about the performance of the BOE and I have questions about some of curricular issues, especially regarding math.

The sensationalistic tone of the owners of this blog and the "hair on fire" behavior of many of the anonymous posters here does not reflect the experience that most parents have had in the district. I continue to post mostly as a counterpoint to the axe-grinding maniacs that this site seems to attracts.

I doubt that anyone associated with this blog would be capable of serving on the BOE or even facilitating improved relations with the BOE or district staff -- the selective and inflammatory way that the owners of this blog have ignored the clear message of the environmental testing firm that the building is safe and instead focus on one room that is going to receive additional treatments to not just bring the mold count to a safe level but ensure that all possible sources of mold have been elimated shows the real bias of the blog owner and anonymous posters -- not to inform but rather incite.

Are the blog owner and anonymous poster part of gang that wants a new middle school? Do they want this beyond all rationality? Do they not care that many residents find the current level of expenditures too high? Do they believe the destruction of open space and parks that would result would meet with no opposition?

Anonymous said...


I frequent this blog often and I do understand your opinions on the last post. I really think some posters, at times, use the blog to vent a bit-I know I have. So many of us have become very frustatrated by the lack of common sense, lack of urgency, unwillingness to use proven curriculum resources, and the resistance to examine other very high performing districts as a template-instead of reinventing the wheel.

From the start, it seemed that Common Core wasn't going to help our district-but there was a huge PR push from the administration to sell it to us. I attended one of those informational meetings and couldn't take the spin. I'm still wondering what happened to all those Language Arts materials they attempted to introduce for K-5, and why we don't have more supplemental math materials. At times I've felt they've dumbed the curriculum down, only to try and remold it to their vision (not based on any proof).

As for the HMS situation-I'm so glad my daughter is back in school, but I'm very unhappy how it was handled from the start by Dr. Shuster. The students should have had the opportunity to collect their belongings etc. I think they just didn't want the public to really see the mess.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wick

I think you are making things up about the blog. My read is that the blog is adamantly against waste of tax dollars and is devoted to reducing waste of our money. In fact, the blog has been clear that the BOE and the administration have been pursuing a left wing expensive agenda and that more money is not the answer. Nor does anyone advocate for a new middle school on the blog. If you can read the blog as advocating higher taxes, and a new middle school than you really are not reading closely. What the blog is pushing for is a careful, analytical administration, that makes wise use of our tax dollars and does not waste our money on a Turek/Yager supported left wing social justice agenda. That is apparently why the blog emphasized the exorbitant salaries of our administration team. That is why the blog highlighted the lack of facilities planning, not to advocate for higher taxes but to advocate for wise management.

You seem to be upset that the bloggers have focused on the mold issue, and I agree generally that mold is not a ground for hysteria, perhaps the blog jumped the shark on this a bit. However, the broader point is a BOE and the administration are keystone cops running in circles in a reactive manner. By suggesting that this focus is one pushing for squandering tax monies, you have also jumped the shark.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr. Wick.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wick,

I think we can all just agree to disagree with you. But I would like you to take your own advice and refrain from using inflammatory rhetoric against the bloggers and the posters. If you do not like the views expressed on this blog then please stop reading it. We are all educated informed adults and I can assure you that we can independently think you ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Again, jay_wick ( I don't know your real name) I don't know how long ago your kids were in elementary school, but you obviously are ignorant of the problems that exist in our children's school, at this time. And just because your children, and therefore YOU, are not negatively impacted personally by what you yourself. (after speaking to teachers) say: "strongly suggests that the lack of clear direction (in D181) is the greatest negative right now…."

It is painfully embarrassing to see you to contradict yourself by claiming parents are overreacting, but, at the same time, the leadership of our district does "lacks direction". The fact that you clearly do not have children in elementary school right now speaks for your insensitive disregard for all children.

It seems that you are the only one who is, as you say, "disgruntled" or has "an ax to grind". No one is sure why you continue to post, because you do not seem to have kids in elementary school. Do you even have children in 181? If not, what is YOUR purpose in claiming to be an expert ? Just because you read the emails sent out by Dr. Schuster you are an expert. We all read the same email late last night after the open house, too. Although you have been fairly granted the opportunity to post, your points are really one sided. You clearly do not have the critical thinking skills to ask intelligent questions and consider the viewpoints of others.

For example, you make bold statements that everything is safe and going according to plan, and nothing is "sinister" yet you have NO idea what the actual plan and procedures are, nor are you certified in the rehabilitation of sick buildings. You do, however, seem qualified to make spelling corrections, and we all thank you for that. Perhaps you could go volunteer at a local public elementary school?

By the tone and comments of your previous posts, the only thing that seems to worry you is that parents will start pushing for a new middle school and that your taxes will go up. I certainly don't want a new middle school, not simply because of the money, but because this administration and board does not seem to be capable and transparent enough to ever make such an endeavor possible. If we can not even trust these so called "experts" to bring in a logical math or reading curriculum, or maintain the integrity of a 30 year old building, I can logically conclude that they are not capable of handling the construction of a multi million dollar facility. Particularly if it will be paid for with other people's money.

If you value open space and parks over education, I suggest you go live in a retirement community somewhere. I would move, but my children are still in school and we don't want to uproot them. We think these issues are solvable, and trust that we are making a difference. Just because YOUR children reaped the benefits of a good school system YEARS ago does not mean that we and our children do not deserve the same thing. Your hypocrisy, arrogance, and ridicule of parents with valid complaints are disgraceful.

Village Mom

Anonymous said...

Our problems with the BOE stem from the fact that the majority of the voters do not have children in D181. The single focus for these voters is their tax bill and they vote candidates in who are like minded regardless of their educational background or devotion to the issues facing the district. I hope these voters realize that the essence that makes Hinsdale unique is the schools. If the schools keep declining, people will not want to move to Hinsdale. We are already plastered all over the media as the town with the moldy school. I hope these voters realize that all of this affects property values. Look at our high school. That BOE had a single focus not to raise taxes and approved a flat tax levy. Now people are incensed. We really need to look closely at who we are voting for the next time around. The caucus and the citizens for whatever group do not necessarily endorse the best candidates. We need educated, involved, and informed candidates who have the children's best interests at heart.

Anonymous said...

Um, Common core is NOT the issue! Advanced Learning Plan and Common Core are totally separate, contrary to what the administration wanted everyone to believe.

jay_wick said...

I leave to the readers to decide who is being arrogant and disrespectful.

I did not just read the district-wide email and documents posted to the district web site, I visited the open house at HMS. The contractors were available to answer questions and they answered the concerns I had without hesitation. I would suggest that if more parents and community members would see first hand how this crisis was handled they would be less outraged than by viewing things through the decidedly obscured lenses of those who certainly seem to have a fixation on finding fault with the adminstation...

The tone of this blog is certainly not helped by the lack of openness regarding who is posting and why -- as other have pointed out, any alleged retribution against staff certainly could be dealt with by the union and any unequal treatment of students would be grounds for a Federal lawsuit.

I mentioned the unrealistic views of some that seem to want a new school not becauase I have any special objection to such an endeavor but merely to point out that anyone that holds such views is dramatically out of touch with the mainstream views of the community. It is not so much that I personally would be opposed to such a plan (though given the sums spent on the existing school over the past few years such a venture seems extremely wasteful...) as much as that such postision is so lacking in awareness of the broader concerns of the community that it reflects on the unbalanced viewpoints of many of the anoymous posters here.

For those who care, I do have children in the district and have attended numerous meetings to learn about a whole range of issues that do have a direct impact on not just my own children but those of my neighbors and potential parents that do not yet have children in the district. I am also well aquainted with the surrounding districts and believe that any reasonable person would conclude that the overall pluses of D181 and the quality of life one can enjoy in the towns it serves are superior to surrounding areas. I also have numerous neighbors whose own children have long since graduated and I am not just sympathetic to their often fixed income status but actively reach out directly and with my kids to let them know their values and concerns are important to the overall success of our communities.

Folks with an overblown sense of thier own importance often fail to build any rapport with others no matter how valid their questions may be.

As I have said before, more than a little blame for the lack of unified direction of the current BOE must be borne by the continuation of the "squeaky wheel" tactics that continute to be disharmoniously pursued by aggrieved parents -- petition drives and overheated email blasts serve to harden the resolve of certain stubborn board members, turn off the broad middle of the community that is mostly eager to see a conservative/thoughtful approach to anything related to their children's education and makes the flame throwers easy to dismiss.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Wick: you are not in the HMS directory. How about if everyone checks their D181 directories to see if there is a parent named Jay Wick in any of them and let us know. After all his attacks on anonymous posters it will be interesting to know if he is using a real name.

Anonymous said...

Not in the Monroe Directory

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wick is not in either the CHMS or Monroe directory.

jay_wick said...

I have said before that the default login I have in the blogger system makes it easy to identify me.

The owners of this blog are the ones overly concerned with secrecy and have apparently decided that they like things better with fake names.

Frankly I would rather talk to any neighbors that have objections to my posts face to face. I think it would be great if we all did a big "meet up". You can all come help me shovel sidewalks and while we work a sweat maybe we won't be so hostile ...

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a big outcry for a new school to be build as Mr. Jay Wick keeps suggesting we want. Of course some long term planning and saving would have been best for such a project, but this isn't the case. That money has been spent on a top heavy, overpaid adminstrative staff (okay, I couldn't help myself) .

I highly doubt you are in and have children in this district. You just enjoy stirring the pot.

Anonymous said...

Wick, your reasoning is backwards. Are you actually suggesting that the "reason" that Marty Turek/Yaeger voted in the social justice curriculum is because people complained about the yet to be adopted curriculum? Are you suggesting that if only people had not complained, than the curriculum would not have been voted in? Are you suggesting that if people had not complained about poor facilities managment, than the BOE would have engaged in proper facilities management? Does that even make sense to you? The timing does not work. Nobody started a blog objecting to a curriculum that was not yet implemented, with the blog riling up administrators which then resulted in that very curriculum, not yet implemented, being proposed by the adminstrators and adopted by the board as retribution for complainting that it might be implemented.

As for "union" protection, not so fast. If one had to choose between being quiet and not having to suffer retribution, and speaking out and hoping that the union reps (some of whom have not been promoted to administration) would provide protection, most teachers would pick option a. Also, staff members are not members of union so any administrator who objects to the direction has no protection.

More importantly, you still miss the big picture. Go back to the beginning of the blog and check out the resumes and pay of the administrators. We have folks who in the view of many are not qualified running the district. We are off course. Hoping that highly paid, secretive, unqualified people will play nice with our kids if only, pretty please, nobody made them feel uncomfortable is a fools errand. They can't get the job done. The BOE as a group can't get the job done. You know that, your posts reflect that, but your suggestion to be quiet and leave them alone is not rational.

Anonymous said...

Not in Elm or Lane directory

jay_wick said...

I don't enjoy stirring the pot. I like working toward the betterment of my community.

I like when people get involved in a postive way; I've tried to encourage that in the nearly 20 years I've live inside the district by volunteering time to a variety of local organizations, diligently providing input when their is an opportunity to do so, actively campaigning for needed improvements in district facilities even in the face of active opposition, thoughtful letters to the editors of the Doings and Suburban Life, participation in candidates forums and a whole host of other positve engagements.

How about yourselves?

jay_wick said...

Again, I would ask The Parents start to give clues about their identity so too will I.

I live on a street for a which a portion has sidewalks along only side while another portion has sidewalks along both sides.

The Parents said...

Mr. Wick: We do not have the ability to identify you nor do we even try to use what you refer to as default login stuff to back door our way into your identity. We only see names posted, such as the one you used, or anonymous.

jay_wick said...

BTW I have not advocated "leaving alone" the BOE or adminstration. As I said I have made it point to engage them, usually respectfully. Last night as BOE member Turek was leading us through the building I asked questions and he answered them. Similarly BOE member Clarins answered questions I posed to him.

It is not all that hard to ask things either in person or via email. Sometimes you get the answer. When you don't the temptation to respond with anger or disrespect should be avoided.

Similarly selectively ignoring details is something that is generally referred as "yellow journalism" and the troubles that come from such things rarely end well.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jay Wick-It sounds as if you are involved in your community and try to improve things. I think so many factors affect the D181 experience-what teacher, what grade, what principle. I'm taking a guess here, but I bet the most vocal are the parents with children in grades 3-5(because you start to realize all isn't that rosy) and maybe older children. We can see the changes that have been implemented and are very concerned. Parents with elementary kids, and middleschoolers now are getting a different education than several years ago.

Yvonne Mayer said...

Hi Mr. Wick: My name is Yvonne Mayer. I am writing this from a distant location where I am currently on a 1 week vacation. I have been following d181 events this week both with Dr. Schuster's emails, news coverage and this blog because I have a child at HMS. Using my actual name, in the past I have posted both comments on the blog as well as comments that I have asked the bloggers to run as posts. I did serve on the D181 BOE from 2009 to 2013. Before that I was on multiple task forces and served as Elm's PTP Co-President. I have put in my volunteer time and blood sweat and tears to work for the betterment of the district. Not everyone has agreed with my positions on issues, but I have always stood by my convictions. I consider myself intelligent. I agree with almost everything that has been posted by the bloggers. Now go ahead and attack me. I am bracing myself.....

jay_wick said...

I have no reason to attack Ms. Mayer, in fact we share many similar views about our communities.

I appreciate her service to the district.

What I do not find helpful is the overheated biases of the hosts of this blog and the squeaky wheel behavior of some community members which is responsible for the situation we currently face -- an ineffective BOE with an adminstration that has no clear philosophy of the best course forward.

I do believe that shifts in not just implementation of prior educational approaches but the underpinnings of what things were important to the district shifted. Folks that were once thought of as wanting the best for the most were instead painted as part of some kind cabal. Too little thought was given to the outside experts selected to help sort out a way forward and too much credence was given to what is essentially made-up educationalese.

I have little hope of any path back to a better a place that may have once existed but I do believe that the path to finding a acceptable place forward will be better found through less emphasis on histrionics and a more unified voice. Care to join me? I think you know how to reach me...

Anonymous said...

Mr Wick,

I find it offensive that you think that you are the only one serving the community. Most of us are extremely involved in the community. Most of us have asked questions nicely - multiple times. Most of us have met with principals, board members and Dr. Schuster. Most of us have spoken multiple times at board meetings. Some of us have even filed FOIA's because our questions went unanswered. We were then publicly and ruthlessly called bullies by the BOE president (who it just so happens has been filing multiple FOIAs in multiple districts for financial gain). Please do not make presumptions about the people who post on this blog. We are not running around with pitch forks. We are active and involved community members. We contribute a tremendous amount to this community. You however feel the need to attack and detract the focus away from the issues affecting our children.

Anonymous said...

28 Million to Remediate Mold in St Charles - On 8/2/12 James Fuller wrote in the Daily Herald about the trials and tribulations of mold at St Charles High School quoting superintendent Don Scholmann as, “Getting rid of mold at St. Charles East High School has probably been the single most costly health concern in St. Charles Unit District 303's history. After a $28 million remediation and a six-year legal battle, school officials thought their work was done.”

Only to discover more mold at the campus ….

Schlomann said the district has learned from the past and will open the entire mold investigation and results for public scrutiny. Building inspections of St. Charles East High School in 2001 revealed mold growing behind walls related to problems with the hearing and air conditioning system.

Parents suspicious of the air quality in the building had lobbied for mold testing as early as 1997. The mold problem eventually cost the district $28 million to fix. A handful of students also sued the district citing health problems related to the mold. They won a combined settlement of less than $100,000 after a six-year legal battle.

"Now we're real sensitive in this community about that four-letter word — mold," Schlomann said. "We want to be real open and make sure people know this is what we found, and we're thinking about safety for everyone. Any time you find mold anywhere in a building, it's a big thing. We need to make sure we treat it like that."

(full story at )

Anonymous said...

It could be worse ... Hard to believe, but the stonewalling and administrative obfuscation could be worse – as per this Bloomberg story –

Isaac’s dentist was dispatched to his school by ReachOut Healthcare America, a dental management services company that’s in the portfolio of Morgan Stanley Private Equity, operates in 22 states and has dealt with 1.5 million patients. Management companies are at the center of a U.S. Senate inquiry, and audits, investigations and civil actions in six states over allegations of unnecessary procedures, low-quality treatment and the unlicensed practice of dentistry.

Allegations like Gagnon’s “are not representative” of the more than 500 cases handled by ReachOut affiliates in Isaac’s school district, said Mickey Mandelbaum, a company spokesman.

jay_wick said...

I am not making presumption merely calling out folks for thier behavior on these blogs.

Folks like Mr. Joyce, Mr. Norton, Ms. Mayer identify themselves. I have the blogger id thing working.

It is not just about "asking nicely" it is about conflating the tiniest triviality into some nonsensical tower of paranoia.

There may very well be shortcoming in how the administration responds to questions, the way to improve upon that is not to vilify the every action of the administration.

Frustrated Parent said...

I think jay-wick has made some good points. I like his idea of everyone at least taking a common blogger ID. That way you can remain anonymous, but your train of thought can be followed by the readers. I do also feel this blog sometimes gets too stuck on little points. I do understand everyone's frustration. I feel it myself, and it is hard when it does not appear the administration or board cares what you think or how your child is affected. There does need to be a balance between what the board does and what the administration does, and somehow they have to balance each other out and support the needs of our children. I don't see that happening as things are now, unless there is a large, visible presence at board meetings. Otherwise, it will appear those unhappy are a small minority. I will be at the next board meeting; I hope many of you will be there also.

Anonymous said...

Simply because one's name does not appear in a school directory does not mean that this person does not have students in D181. Many people opt out of the directory listings and schools cannot share such information because of privacy laws. Mr. Wick may be stirring the pot, but he has just as much right to do that as anyone has to express their opinions. And just because not everyone agrees with the bloggers doesn't make one group right and one group wrong.

Anonymous said...

I plan on being at the next board meeting, too. Listening at home is good, but whatever you do, don't rely on the district created notes. They are really poor reflections of what parents and board members really said. Anything that criticizes the district doesn't make it to the notes. I want to hear about HMS, but a part of me just wants to go just to see if jay_wick will wear a name tag.

What I am about to say is is so obvious, that I almost can't bear to mention it: using a handle like "jay_wick", is not the same as using your real name. ��Especially when the handle gives no indication of who you really are. Even though jay_wick might have followers who know who he is, probably 99% of the people on this blog have no idea.

There might be an exception, though. If his handle refers to the seaside village of Jaywick in England (the stuctures there were so poorly built that the whole town has fallen into a state of disrepair) maybe he is giving us a hint. The residents there were evacuated last month due to bad storms. Maybe he really is an HMS parent? But see, we can't verify it. So, therefore, he is anonymous.

Not sure why jay_wick is perseverating on his (or her?) sense of superiority for posting a handle instead of a name, but I am sure he or she will let us know soon.

Anonymous said...

Why does Jay Wick constantly belittle people and say they are hysterical? If you look at his or her posts, he/she is the one really exaggerating. Really rude. The way he dismisses and ridicules parents for speaking up is wrong. The way Jay talks down to people and blows off their concerns make me think he or she is an administrator. Or maybe, a former disgruntled board member.